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Making Colombian Empanadas

February 24th, 2010

If you’ve been reading this blog for a while you’ve heard that I grew up in Colombia, South America. I really enjoy Colombian cuisine and Mr Chiots has grown to love it as well. One of our favorites is Empanadas. Empanadas are eaten in many Latin American countries, and each country has their specialty, as does each region within each country. I grew up in the prairie region of Colombia so I make mine the way they do there. I use areparina for the crust which is pre-cooked corn flour, I can’t find it locally so my dad brings it to me when he travels back from Colombia. In many other countries empanadas are made with a pie crust type dough, or a potato dough.

Traditionally the empanadas in the prairie region of Colombia are filled with ground beef and rice or chicken and rice. Typically they’re not super seasoned, but they’re eaten with a spicy aji which is a blend of cilantro, green onion, vinegar, salt, pepper and hot peppers. I generally make mine with beef and it’s fairly spicy with toasted cumin seeds, coriander and a lot of red pepper. They’re usually fried or baked, I prefer to bake mine. I mix some shortening in the dough which makes them nice and crispy on the outside and soft on the inside.

Since I can’t get the crust mix often, these are a real treat for us. They grace our table a few times a year. Last week I made a big batch with some of Mr Chiot’s venison. These are the ultimate Colombian comfort food, definitely one of my favorites.

What’s your favorite ethnic dish?

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.